21 January 2010

What Does Scott Brown's Victory Really Mean?

I suppose y'all must be wondering--the four of you who read me, thank you--where my post is celebrating the Republican win in Massachusetts? I have so many conflicting thoughts about it, it's hard to form a post. So here goes some rambling.

First, the candidate for the Republican party has won a U. S. Senate seat in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 3 to 1. Congratulations! It's a little surprising the Kennedy in the race didn't do better.

Second, in Mr. Brown's victory speech, Major Garrett noted that did not use the word "Republican" prominently, if at all. Perhaps that isn't surprising, given that much of his support came from voters who identify themselves as "independent." Just what does this indicate about how he will represent the Commonwealth in the Senate? The MOOP did point out that Mr. Brown voted along GOP lines 96% of the time; but did he introduce any measures that were actually conservative?

Next, I read somebody's claim that Mr. Brown actually supports a state-run, universal health care system. Does that mean he just doesn't like the one described in the current bills? Or if it gets the right amendments, he'd support it? Or was that person wrong?

Then there are the campaigns. Mr. Brown did an excellent job of getting his message heard, and got a lot--an awful lot--of help from social media. For the last week of the campaign, it seemed that 2/3 of the tweets in my stream were promoting him. Granted, I follow mostly conservatives, but that's still a pretty big proportion. And a large part of those folks were advocating (and giving) donations to his campaign from all over the nation, maybe even the world.

Mrs. Coakley, on the other hand, seemed to have a message mostly of blaming George W. Bush and trying to associate Mr. Brown with Bush's policies. I believe most independents reject that argument now. Also, she did not use the new media well. Some would argue that she didn't use the old media very well, either. I have not seen any reports of her war chest.

I was going to add more about the messages, but this is rambling too much already. I guess the bottom line is, Scott Brown is relatively conservative, for Massachusetts. He successfully campaigned to the idea of independence and against one-party control. We now have two years to see how he behaves in the Senate. I, for one, will be paying attention.

Update 2010-02-22: Apparently, Mr. Brown has disappointed many of those who didn't know much about him by voting for the so-called "jobs" bill, a.k.a. Stimulus II. Sounds like a Romney-like move to me.

Oh, and I now have 6 readers. Woo-hoo! Thank you all.